Restaurants should take customer complaints seriously. Making a customer happy is the key to restaurant success, where customers choose to return to your establishment. Statistically, noise is the second most common complaint that a restaurant will receive.
Noise is a serious consideration among patrons and food critics because some restaurants are so loud that you won’t be able to hold a conversation with the person sitting next to you.
You can, and should, be working on ways to reduce restaurant noises. How?
1. Strategic Placement of Machinery and Equipment
Restaurant noise control should start with your layout. There are machines, such as icemakers and coffee bean grinders, that make loud noises. You can opt for a few different options here. One is to place these machines as far away from guests as possible.
Another is to choose machines or equipment that have roof-mounted condensers, which are quieter.
Search for equipment or accessories that may also reduce noise production. Power blenders, for example, have sound enclosures which will make the blender quieter. Sound absorbers are also a great option for noisy equipment and may be a good option to keep heating and air conditioning units quiet.
2. Add Carpet in Areas That are High Traffic
If you want to reduce noise in a room, you need to consider your flooring type. Tiled areas are easy to clean and may provide a sleek room for your restaurant, but the tile will not absorb the sound of people’s sneakers.
Restaurants are adding carpet in these areas, which include:
- Near restrooms
- Near the kitchen
- Near the bar
- Near the waiting area
Flooring for restaurants is very important, but if your restaurant cannot afford to have carpet installed, throw rugs will work just as well.
Noise reduction pads may also be placed under the carpeting as a way to stop creaks in hardwood flooring. But pay close attention to the height added by these pads to ensure that it doesn’t create a tripping hazard for your guests.
3. Add Curtains or Valances to Windows
Windows allow for natural light to enter a restaurant, but glass also causes noise. Glass will reflect sound, and this can make it noisiest where your guests are sitting to enjoy their meals. You can choose to do a few things:
- Install carpeting under seats to help dampen some of the noise.
- Install curtains to help dampen the noise level and stop sound reflection.
- Put tablecloths on each table to help further reduce the noise.
Tablecloths will also reduce noise from dishes and glassware clanking on the table. Ambient noise is also reduced thanks to tablecloths.
Acoustical curtains for reducing noise is available and should be a part of your restaurant’s soundproofing plans.
4. Install Wall Panels to Reduce Noise
If you want to know how to muffle sounds and keep bar noise to a minimum, start with installing wall panels. There is also wall material for a commercial kitchen that will help with restaurant noise reduction.
Wall fabrics will help absorb sound, but they may also be an eyesore in some restaurants.
The good news is that these fabric-covered wall panels come in an array of colors, patterns and prints that will be able to complement most restaurant décor. Acoustic solutions for restaurants also include:
- Compressed mineral wood
In enclosed areas, these wall panels are able to limit reverberation and also help with clarifying speech in the area.
Acoustic panels are also being created that look like art, and they’re a great soundproofing idea for a hip, new restaurant that wants to minimize sound in a room without altering aesthetics.
5. Soft Ceilings Are a Must
When people go into a restaurant, they pay much less attention to the ceiling than they do the walls. Sound buffer panels may be noticeable, but a soft ceiling will be much less noticeable. And a soft ceiling will help reduce noise drastically.
You can install soundproofing panels on the ceiling, or the ceiling can have:
- Cloth drapes
- Acoustic tiles
Soft ceiling acts as sound absorbers for restaurants, and while this may be a more expensive option than some of the other options on our list, soft ceilings are a great overall noise reducer in a restaurant.
6. Install a Sound System
Ambient music can help make a dining experience even better. Restaurant sound systems should not be overly loud or make it harder for patrons to talk or relax. Instead, these sound systems should be at a level where it augments the dining experience.
Properly placed speakers with the right volume levels will help customers relax while also canceling out some of the other noise in a restaurant.
7. Kitchen Changes That Can Help
Kitchens produce a lot of noise. Machinery and appliances whirr, plates clank together and chefs shout orders to each other. Paying close attention to the sound produced by the kitchen is important.
A few of the options to further reduce noise in the kitchen include:
- Adding ceiling tiles to help absorb noise
- Placing sound-absorbing foam under tables
- Installing doors that separate the sounds of the kitchen with the rest of the restaurant
The kitchen is a prime area where you can address a restaurant’s noise level without impacting the experience of your customers.
Soundproof doors are best in the kitchen area and will make a dramatic difference in the dining experience.
8. Place Rubber Caps on Chair Legs
If your restaurant has wood or tile flooring, the sound of chairs moving on the floor can dampen the dining experience. Rubber caps can be placed on the legs of the chairs to help reduce this noise production and potentially save your floor from scratches.
Rubber caps are an inexpensive way to reduce noise in a restaurant.
Acoustic engineers should be consulted if you want to know how to properly reduce noise in a restaurant. These professionals will have access to restaurant materials and soundproofing options that owners often don’t know exist.
Additional options may be possible, such as curved booths, that may help break up the sound waves. Varying the heights of these booths may also help dampen the noise along with acoustic fiber, which can be sprayed on to walls to act as impact noise reducers.